Using Pollen Sub
Fall feeding of pollen supplement can really help a colony overwinter well and emerge in the Spring raring to go! It can also be used in early Spring to kick-start brood rearing. When it IS used this way, it needs to be continued until the bees are consistently bringing in pollen on their own.|
The simplest way to offer a pollen supplement is to use a commercial mix. I have used Mega-Bee quite successfully and like that it is a non-soy product that can be offered as a solid or a liquid and not just as a patty, because patties just don't work for me.
SHBs will lay thousands of eggs in patties and otherwise dirty them at any opportunity, so I offer liquid Mega-Bee in the spring instead, and my own formula sugar bricks that I call Rusty's MegaBlocks in the fall/winter. When feeding these blocks, no other feeding is necessary because they have both sugar and pollen sub in one neat block!
It is important to remember that if you do decide to feed in the spring, you MUST keep feed on the hive until the bees begin bringing in their own pollen or the hive (now rearing brood because of the feed) may starve without it.
Queen rearing presents its own special feeding problems, thanks to SHBs. In the past these blasted pests would overrun my starter/finisher hive, attracted by the pollen sub feeding that makes these hives strong and helps them produce big, fat, beautiful queens. And then I discovered liquid feeding. I've tried liquifying several different pollen subs and MegaBee has proven to be the best supplement I've found for this. It is so finely milled that it can be whisked into 2:1 syrup and will STAY mixed. The bees get the nutrition they need and the SHBs get NOTHING! Problem solved! Wahoo!